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Published: 2011/08/31
by Ron Hart

Ugly Stick
Pick Up The Hatchet

Hovercraft

Bringing together the proto-punk drive of SST with the rootsy twang of the No Depression movement, Ugly Stick from Delaware, Ohio, was one of the great lost treasures of the American college rock movement of the late 80s/early 90s. And the fact that they have not been a pivotal part of the national conversation about underground music is one of the great crimes of this generation in sound, because if they had been given the right breaks, these guys would have been as big as The Replacements, Uncle Tupelo or Soul Asylum. However, before the days of the Internet, it was next to impossible for a local band, especially one from the Midwest, to gain any kind of national exposure without the widespread assistance of the mainstream music press, MTV and the support of a prominent record label.

But whether or not you have heard of this talented group before today should not stop you from checking out the band’s first two albums, reissued in the form of Pick Up The Hatchet, a two-disc set comprising of their eponymous cassette-only debut from 1989 and its 1991 follow-up Shaved. Now unless you lived within the microcosm of flea markets, family-owned department stores and the sole record shop in the region of commerce that made up Delaware County, chances are you really never had the opportunity to experience the genesis of Ugly Stick’s unique brand of jangle-core. But thanks to this epic new collection, released on the same imprint that sponsored the Stick’s 2008 comeback LP Still Glistening, you can enjoy every country-fried ounce of frenetic Tom Petty-meets-fIREHOSE energy whipped up during the salad days of this great hidden gem of vintage indie.

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